There’s a really interesting note in a post about Kindle sales on the Self-Published Author’s Lounge:
First of all, free does attract a lot of negative reviews. I’m not the only author who’s noticed it and neither is this author. I have another author friend who is shying away from putting anything else out for free because she doesn’t want to get the negative reviews. Free does attract a heavy dose of criticism. I still use free, though, because my skin really has gotten thick enough where I honestly don’t care anymore (this takes time to develop) and because free is still great for exposure. But free isn’t the only marketing tool you can use, so if this is not something that appeals to you, don’t use it. If you do use it, just be aware that negative reviews might happen at a heavier rate than they would if you kept a price tag on your book.
As we all know, people on the internet can be mean. You’d think that people would be meaner if they actually had to shell out some money, but some people also like beating up on the little guy. So if you release a book for free, the fact that it’s free is going to end up in the review. This is actually a problem if you intend to set a book for free for a limited time and raise the price at a later date – that “free” review is still sitting there.
I’ve seen this phenomenon with my own book – which I’m now almost desperately trying to switch back to a price, but Smashwords is very slow to provide any assistance with contacting retailers to set the book to a price again. I made the price change on Smashwords months ago. They asked which retailers still had the book set at free (B&N, Kobo, Diesel) and to not contact those retailers directly. No action since then. So this is a problem.
Back to reviews: I’ve seen some bad reviews recently:
After reading this book I realize why it is free just a year after release.
But also some good reviews:
This is the first £0.00 ebook I’ve read that is GOOD!
Are Brits nicer than Americans? A topic for another post.
Granted, I meant this novel to be sort of controversial, so it’s going to have widely varying reviews (and it has). But it’s good to know that I’m not the only one facing this problem.
There are a lot of arguments for free as a promotional tool. But this is something to consider when deciding on setting your book to free – especially since it’s so difficult to de-free your book after the period is over.